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If people really wanted to support families?

610 Views 9 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  sleepies
I am looking for suggestions and ideas on ways that groups can be accomodating to families and parents with children. After attending a recent LLL conference, and in the process of thinking of an upcoming conference in my area I was thinking wouldn't it be great to come up with a list of ideas of things that would be helpful to families, children and parents when they attend gatherings (whether it be church, a conference, etc).

For example, these are some of the things I have thought of after attending the LLL conference. Nametags for children as well as adults, special help for parents with babies at meal times, families being first in line at meals, special rates for children based on age, a room set aside for toddlers and young children filled with interesting toys, a box of quiet toys at the back of all workshops, an expectation that children will make some noise and that parents will be mindful when they become TOO disruptive, not when they just make one sound, activities that appeal to people of all ages.

So, can you put on your thinking caps, even your dream really high caps and tell me what accomodations would you like to see at gatherings that would make it easier for you as a parent, for your children (of any age), or for your family as a whole to attend, participate, feel welcomed and included?

My plan is to come up with a list and use it to think about our own conference, and to write it up and give it to my church district's local planning committee who is thinking of ways to make our gatherings more family friendly.

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On the heels of just replying to your other post, I think that you are coming up with some great ideas.

It's hard when the food comes out to organize lines, etc. Maybe it would be helpful to have a "chidren's" table with dishes set out there, so there is no confusion in forming lines?

(You know, in Asian Indian culture, children ALWAYS eat first. They have the right idea!)

Another idea is to have stickers that say PLEASE DON'T FEED ME for toddlers and kids that have allergies or are vegetarian, etc.

Well, I seem to be really focused on the food aspect. I'm pretty hungry right now! :LOL
How about some organized activities for children (art, music, dance) in separate yet very close by areas? Maybe volunteer parents could take turns supervising? We went to a wedding a few years ago where it was a full day thing, but the bride & groom had very thoughtfully provided quiet/nap areas for young children, and a separate activity room where they could do art & crafts...all very close by to where the dinner/dance took place. It was amazing and SO was the 'easiest' special event with the kids that we'd ever attended.
a quiet area with comfy chairs for nursing, and family bathrooms with diaper change areas
I organize a family-centered church retreat every year, so we've spent a lot of time thinking about this very issue. We are in a camp-based setting, so some things we have come up with may or may not apply. Big ones for us (other than those mentioned) are high chairs and booster seats for kids so parents don't have to bring them from home. We provide sports bottles for adults and older kids and sippy cups for little kids so everyone can be hydrated. A box of "easily forgotten" items for people: toothbrushes, lip balm, sun screen, bug spray that sort of thing that people can help themselves to. Kid-sized chairs for meetings, placed up front so they can see and participate (we bought a lot of folding little camp chairs for this). Access to refridgerator for baby/toddler food needs. Family-friendly menu. Reasonable start and end times for the day. Cereal and juice available in the early morning for early rising types. I think that about covers it.
Keep 'em coming, keep 'em coming! These are all great ideas, making me think. Yes, the LLL conference I attended had lots of baby changing areas! This is really helping a lot!
How about the comfy chairs in the midst of things? I hate being "banished" to a quiet corner when my baby wants to nurse.

depends on the conference in question, and where it will be held, but I don't like the idea of name tags for the children. nope, no way do I want strangers being able to call my child by name...

Easy access to lots of healthy snacks and drinks is always a good idea. Definitely need *real* options for families who don't do dairy, or sugar, or meat, or are vegan, etc.

Strictly organized activities are a big turn-off for me, as my DD and myself both have a huge problem with keeping to schedules. There should be some leeway for spontaneous fun and games, depending on the kids and their moods at the time.
Oh maybe arm bands for the kids with the parents name on it, kind of like they do with newborns in the hospital. Like Smith baby or something. That way if the child got lost he/she could be returned to the correct parent, and so that if there was child care the child care provider could be sure to match the right child to the right parent.

edited to ad: or if you didn't want names at all you could do a code, like a number code or maybe even a pattern like on the parents name tag it could have their name and then a picture of a ducky, a bunny and a puppy and then the childs wrist band could have the ducky, bunny, and puppy that way they would match. I think it would be a good way to try to keep little ones safe. Then to be able to leave with a child you would have to be able to show that your name tag matched with the child's wrist band. I have seen places like chucky Cheese do similar things to try to protect the kids.
I think stafl's right about comfy chairs (rockers?) for adults with babies actually in the workshop, not just in a quiet separate area.

In the dream big catagory: I love "cry" rooms for adults with small children where they can hear and watch the presentation and not worry about dcs being too noisy.
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